All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
A boy and girl face the challenge of the world's last frontier
A teenage girl and her young brother are stranded in the Australian outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Aborigine on "walkabout": a ritualistic banishment from his tribe
Nicolas Roeg is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. Granted, I've only digested three of his films so far, and I understand that his quality declines quite drastically later in his career (otherwise, I would have expected him to be one of the all-time greats instead of just respected yet rarely talked about), but he has yet to take a misstep in my book. Not only are the films of his I've watched commendable, they are truly excellent. From his mastery of the thriller/horror in Don't Look Now to the daring experimental sci-fi of The Man Who Fell To Earth, I've now been lucky enough to catch the beautiful, perhaps even 'Malickian' nature odyssey of Walkabout.
Walkabout, above all,…
I often talk about how I cherish the rare and unique opportunity to experience a film through pure, unbiased eyes, having never seen a trailer or a clip, with no knowledge of even a basic premise to get me started before sitting down and pressing play. Such was my approach to the 1971 Australian movie Walkabout, as I literally only knew the name of the director and the fact that it was deemed worthy of inclusion to the Criterion collection.
I wanted Nicolas Roeg to tell me a story, to paint something extraordinary with his highly regarded brush that, despite his expansive filmography, I had never witnessed in action before.
The film starts with various shots of crowded,…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
"I don't suppose it matters which way we go..."
Nicholas Roeg's 1971 film Walkabout is so dizzying in it's sheer beauty, that one tends to get just as lost in it's Australian landscape and vistas as our protagonists, and it's through Nic Roeg's innovative editing and cinematography that we witness a teenage schoolgirl and her little brother become one with the landscape, as if nature is devouring the foreign objects that enter into its realm (symbolised by their picnic food being consumed by ants).
Edward Bond's 14 page screenplay, which is loosely based on the novel 'Walkabout' by James Vance Marshall, is apparently quite a step away from the novel in it's cinematic form. Roeg infuses the film with layers…
The near silent opening of the film contrasts the concrete hell of the city set against the wise open spaces of the Australian outback. It is not until we are in the car with the girl, her younger brother and father that we have a clear understanding of where exactly we are. The montage of scenes before that converge together in surreal motion, the power of the images alone enough to inform you of the films psychology.
Nicolas Roeg's film was seemingly lost, then resurrected in full and appears to slowly be finding an audience at last. Its themes are simple yet wonderfully effective. Roeg looks at the industrialisation of the world and the ongoing battle against nature, always waiting…
While I haven't quite successfully fallen head-over-heels in love with any of Nicolas Roeg's individual films yet, the one thing that I have consistently loved is that he has a very creative sense of style. His unique photography and editing manage to oscillate between serenely beautiful and roughly jarring, a technical range not many filmmakers are capable of. He also consistently succeeds in pushing the boundaries of the cinematic medium, contrasting images and forcing us to draw our own conclusions from them.
This continues in Walkabout. Roeg crosscuts between the death of a kangaroo in the wild and a butcher chopping meat in his shop. He layers images on top of each other as if in a dissolve, but instead…
Director: Nicolas Roeg (Fourth Film)
A well-shot film about two siblings; an older sister and a younger brother as they venture - forced to so by circumstance - through the Australian outback. I say venture, but it's more trudge and struggle as they quickly descend into desperation. That is until they meet a young aboriginal boy on his "Walkabout" - a rite of passage undertaken by Aborigines during their adolescence years.
The film is wonderfully shot, with director Nicolas Roeg utilising frequently startling images and juxtaposition. Imagery-wise, Roeg is working wonders in this film with focus on transitions and fluidity and well, generally the odd shot of nature - in both its forms, nasty and nice.
It's a shame Nicholas Roeg's career petered out in the 80s (before completely dying in the 90s) because for a while there the man was on a hot streak. His work in the seventies of some of the most groundbreaking, innovative stuff you'll ever see, and Walkabout is the film which announced that to the world (well technically it was Performance, but that was co-directed and I don't care for it so I'm going with Walkabout). Not sure what I'm talking about? Just watch the first 5 minutes of this movie. Roeg gives us shots of rock in the outback before cutting to a brick wall in the city, immediately setting up the game of compare and contrast he will…
Roeg's images are stunning.
This one probably has the most bizarre opening I've ever seen from a movie, where Australian schoolchildren do these weird breathing exercises to the sounds of a didgeridoo (thank god for spellcheck), while a businessman, who turns out to be the father of the main character, walks around a city for a bit.
Then he proceeds to randomly drive the protagonist and her baby brother out to the desert, and then randomly tries to kill both of them without warning.
If it's meant to be some sort of metaphor for the unpredictability of life, ya got me pardner. But it's still bizarre and doesn't make a lick of sense and I'm feeling like I nodded off and forgot something?
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Don't think I'm at all down with what this had to say and actually found it pretty upsetting. I'll give it credit for being effective with some heavy handed and other times very obtuse, art-house storytelling. But this movie doesn't speak to me. Looked up the poem the narrator reads at the end and it might be the saddest thing I've ever read.
Edit: (next day)
Coming around a bit on Walkabout. Still have the same reaction to it, but I do have a greater appreciation for what it does.
Addt edit: (a few days later)
Alright, it's an extremely effective cautionary tale on communication; misinterpretation or lack thereof.
Disorienting and surprisingly sexually driven. What really strikes me about this movie (besides Jenny Agutter) is the editing, it's rarely expected and always new.
My only Roeg experience was with The Man Who Fell To Earth so I was surprised with how straight-forward this was. Really compelling story with strong -- occasionally on the nose -- visual metaphor throughout.
"Well, where are we now?"
A superb survival story with creative commentary on humanity, nature, and civilization. Helmed by director Nicolas Roeg with his trademark quick cross-cutting and emotional imagery, it is hard to say anything could've topped 'Dont' Look Now', but I was thoroughly impressed by this film with its wonderful landscape and intriguing story structure.
Recently, I have been watching older Aussie classics like 'Wake in Fright' and heard they are making a big tv adaptation of 'Animal Kingdom.' Since I had only seen one other Roeg film, I thought this would be a good second.
Una hermosa epopeya.
No tengo idea de cómo describir lo hermoso que es este film.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
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